This focused exhibition, drawn from the Whitney’s collection, will look at the creative and irreverent ways that seven artists—Ruth Asawa, Sari Dienes, Pati Hill, Kahlil Robert Irving, Virginia Overton, Julia Phillips, and Zarina—have employed the everyday objects around them to make prints. Nothing Is So Humble takes its title from an evocative proposition by Dienes that recognized aesthetic possibilities in the most mundane of subjects: “Bones, lint, Styrofoam, banana skins, the squishes and squashes found on the street: nothing is so humble that it cannot be made into art.”
The artists in this exhibition share an unconventional approach to printmaking. Rather than mark a metal plate or carve into a block of wood, they have worked directly with the stuff of their environments: making a rubbing from a maintenance hole cover, photocopying a hairbrush, running nylon stockings through an etching press, or even pressing a slice of prosciutto onto a printing plate.
The resulting surface impressions—at once precise and abstracted—capture intimate views of their commonplace subjects that teeter between recognizable and elusive. By making visible what might otherwise be overlooked, these works transform ordinary encounters into poetic and poignant accounts of our world.
This exhibition is organized by Kim Conaty, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawings and Prints.